Are you cleaning or disinfecting a hard and non-porous material or item like glass, metal, or plastic?
Consult EPA’s list of approved products for use against COVID-19external icon. This list will help you determine the most appropriate disinfectant for the surface or object. You can use diluted household bleach solutions if appropriate for the surface. Pay special attention to the personal protective equipment (PPE) that may be needed to safely apply the disinfectant and the manufacturer’s recommendations concerning any additional hazards. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children. Please visit CDC’s website on How to Clean and Disinfect for additional details and warnings.
Examples of frequently touched surfaces and objects that will need routine disinfection following reopening are:
- light switches,
- faucets and sinks,
- gas pump handles,
- touch screens, and
- ATM machines
Each business or facility will have different surfaces and objects that are frequently touched by multiple people. Appropriately disinfect these surfaces and objects. For example, transit stations have specific guidance for application of cleaning and disinfection.
Are you cleaning or disinfecting a soft and porous material or items like carpet, rugs, or seating in areas?
Soft and porous materials are generally not as easy to disinfect as hard and non-porous surfaces. EPA has listed a limited number of products approved for disinfection for use on soft and porous materialsexternal icon. Soft and porous materials that are not frequently touched should only be cleaned or laundered, following the directions on the item’s label, using the warmest appropriate water setting. Find more information on CDC’s website on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility for developing strategies for dealing with soft and porous materials.
Consider the resources and equipment needed
Keep in mind the availability of cleaning and disinfection products and appropriate PPE. Always wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used for routine cleaning and disinfecting. Follow the directions on the disinfectant label for additional PPE needs. In specific instances, personnel with specialized training and equipment may be required to apply certain disinfectants such as fumigants or fogs. For more information on appropriate PPE for cleaning and disinfection, see CDC’s website on Cleaning and Disinfection for Community Facilities.
Implement Your Plan
Once you have a plan, it’s time to take action. Read all manufacturer’s instructions for the cleaning and disinfection products you will use. Put on your gloves and other required personal protective equipment (PPE) to begin the process of cleaning and disinfecting.
Clean visibly dirty surfaces with soap and water
Clean surfaces and objects using soap and water prior to disinfection. Always wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used for routine cleaning and disinfecting. Follow the directions on the disinfectant label for additional PPE needs. When you finish cleaning, remember to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Clean or launder soft and porous materials like seating in an office or coffee shop, area rugs, and carpets. Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the warmest temperature setting possible and dry items completely.
Use the appropriate cleaning or disinfectant product
EPA approved disinfectantsexternal icon, when applied according to the manufacturer’s label, are effective for use against COVID-19. Follow the instructions on the label for all cleaning and disinfection products for concentration, dilution, application method, contact time and any other special considerations when applying.
Always follow the directions on the label
Follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Many product labels recommend keeping the surface wet for a specific amount of time. The label will also list precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children.
Maintain and Revise Your Plan
Take steps to reduce your risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 during daily activities. CDC provides tips to reduce your exposure and risk of acquiring COVID-19. Reducing exposure to yourself and others is a shared responsibility. Continue to update your plan based on updated guidance and your current circumstances.
Continue routine cleaning and disinfecting
Routine cleaning and disinfecting are an important part of reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Normal routine cleaning with soap and water alone can reduce risk of exposure and is a necessary step before you disinfect dirty surfaces.
Surfaces frequently touched by multiple people, such as door handles, desks, phones, light switches, and faucets, should be cleaned and disinfected at least daily. More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on level of use. For example, certain surfaces and objects in public spaces, such as shopping carts and point of sale keypads, should be cleaned and disinfected before each use.
Consider choosing a different disinfectant if your first choice is in short supply. Make sure there is enough supply of gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) based on the label, the amount of product you will need to apply, and the size of the surface you are treating.
Maintain safe behavioral practices
We have all had to make significant behavioral changes to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To reopen America, we will need to continue these practices:
- social distancing (specifically, staying 6 feet away from others when you must go into a shared space)
- frequently washing hands or use alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
- wearing masks
- avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth
- staying home when sick
- cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces
It’s important to continue to follow federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local guidance for reopening America. Check this resource for updates on COVID-19external icon. This will help you change your plan when situations are updated.
Consider practices that reduce the potential for exposure
It is also essential to change the ways we use public spaces to work, live, and play. We should continue thinking about our safety and the safety of others.
To reduce your exposure to or the risk of spreading COVID-19 after reopening your business or facility, consider whether you need to touch certain surfaces or materials. Consider wiping public surfaces before and after you touch them. These types of behavioral adjustments can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. There are other resources for more information on COVID-19 external icon and how to Prevent Getting Sick.
Another way to reduce the risk of exposure is to make long-term changes to practices and procedures. These could include reducing the use of porous materials used for seating, leaving some doors open to reduce touching by multiple people, opening windows to improve ventilation, or removing objects in your common areas, like coffee creamer containers. There are many other steps that businesses and institutions can put into place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect their staff and the public.
Reopening America requires all of us to move forward together using recommended best practices and maintaining safe daily habits in order to reduce our risk of exposure to COVID-19. Remember: We’re all in this together!